Saving Tip: Don’t know what to make for dinner? When in a pinch, like I was tonight, instead of turning to fast food, you can turn to your own cupboards. I almost always have things on hand to make breakfast for dinner. We had pancakes and fruit salad and unlike most nights when at least one child is picky about dinner, everyone ate a full meal tonight 🙂
I thought this no spending challenge was going to be a piece of cake with how much we’ve already cut back on our spending this year. Little did I know that Day 2 would bring one temptation after another. I decided to write down every time I had a thought of buying something. Here’s what it looked like:
- I found that a few pairs of my socks had holes in them. My immediate thought was that I needed new ones. Then I remembered that I had stashed a couple of pairs in a separate drawer the last time I bought socks. Viola! New socks right from my own drawer. Savings: $3-$5
- A friend posted that she is doing a weight loss bet/challenge this month. You put in $35 and then if you lose the set weight %, you share the pot at the end of the month. I went back and forth on this one, rationalizing that it would be good to help me towards my weight loss goals and I would probably end up winning back at least the amount I put in, maybe more. In the end, I decided to stick to my no spending commitment and just rededicate myself to my weight loss goals on my own this month. Savings: $35
- When we were out and about I saw a sign for $1 slurpees and thought that would be a fun treat for the kids. Instead, I figured I could use our snow cone machine at home for just as good of a treat. Savings: $5
- The kids’ school had some uniforms donated that they were allowing people to take in exchange for a charitable donation. I reasoned that I could get a really good deal if I could find several items and donate just $20. In the end, I decided that we really have enough uniforms right now (not extras, but enough) and I didn’t even walk inside the school where they had it all set up (too much temptation!). Savings: $20
For someone that doesn’t spend much, there were sure a lot of times that I had to talk myself out of spending!
So, today’s challenge included going through your pantry and freezer and making meal plans for the month using what you already have on hand. This was a little bit of a problem for me. We have a food storage area where we store food in case of emergencies. I know I would have no problems feeding us for the month on what we have on hand but then I would need to restock all that food after the end of the challenge (meaning a LARGE grocery bill next month) so that kind of defeats the purpose.
Instead, what I did was to pull the items that were close to expiring or weren’t really part of the regular food that we store for emergencies. I ended up with a nice little pile that will help reduce our grocery expenses this month. I was able to plan meals for: tostadas, soup, tamales, pumpkin bars, and more using just what we already have on hand and haven’t been using.
Looking at this pile of food, what meals would YOU make? Got any great recipes to share that would help me use these items up?